LONDON – Anthony Joshua is the new IBF Heavyweight Champion of the World.
The undefeated knockout artist blasted defending champion Charles Martin in the second round to capture the IBF belt on Saturday in front of a rousing hometown crowd at The O2 in London on SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL.
Joshua, who kept his perfect KO record in tact to advance to 16-0 with 16 KOs, earned a heavyweight belt in the fewest number of fights since Michael Bentt beat Tommy Morrison in just his 12th pro match in 1993.
Joshua’s one-punch KO power was evident early. After an even first, the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist floored Martin with a straight right less than one minute into the second round. The southpaw looked stunned and slowly rose to beat the count, but was floored again with another right hand just seconds later. That was it for Martin (23-1-1, 21 KOs), who had won the belt in January under bizarre circumstances and now owns the second shortest reign for a heavyweight champion.
“It is only a quarter of the way there,” said Joshua. “I am not going to get too carried away because there is a lot of work to be done. I have to keep on improving because I have people like Haye calling me out, Tyson Fury calling me out, all of them.
“I need to improve if I am going to maintain and keep pushing at a higher level. Every fight the atmosphere gets better, and better and better. The people here are coming out to support myself and all of the other British fighters on the undercard.
“I come to knock people out, I want to give value for money and I really do appreciate everybody because there were times when we were training in Finchley ABC when nobody cared and I have been grinding my way here. I appreciate the ongoing support time and time again.
“Every Heavyweight has got power but it is about speed and precision, locking in and staying focused. A few months ago I was in here with Dillian Whyte having a great scrap – that was one for the fans, this was one for myself. I told you I was going to come out and punish him, I told you I would show him levels and this is the reward of it.
“Regarding all the hype, I stay tucked away in the gym and when I am not I am in Asda, Ikea, just doing usual things. All the hype is good for everyone in boxing, not just myself. Keep on pushing this sport.
“They have been calling me out since last year so it is nothing unusual, I will keep on grinding, keep on working hard, and once we step into this ring, trust you, trust me, I will be ready.”
Joshua becomes the sixth Olympic Super Heavyweight Gold Medalist to win a professional heavyweight title, joining Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin.
In bonus coverage on SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL, Lee Selby survived a second round knockdown to defend his IBF Featherweight World Championship against challenger Eric Hunter in a unanimous decision victory scored 115-111, 116-110, 116-110